'Green Status Effect': Employees feel pressured to be seen at work amid RTO

New report shows employees engaging in 'performative displays' of productivity

'Green Status Effect': Employees feel pressured to be seen at work amid RTO

As office-return policies spread, remote employees are feeling stronger pressure to be visible at work, resulting in a new workplace trend dubbed as the "Green Status Effect."

In its latest report, BambooHR referred to the trend as employees' tendency to keep work messaging apps open to display a green "active" status and imply they're actively engaged in work.

Its survey among 1,504 full-time employees in the United States revealed that 64% of remote workers are practicing this to prove to their employers that they're working.

Other measures they do to prove they're engaged at work include participating in social conversations in work messaging apps and schedule-sending their emails.

But the "Green Status Effect" also manifests among in-office employees, according to the report.

It found that around third of in-office staff walk around the workplace so their co-workers can see them and plan meetings with other colleagues also in the office.

Source: The New Surveillance Era: Visibility Beats Productivity for RTO & Remote

Pressure to be 'seen' at work

These "performative displays" by employees have emerged from the growing pressure to feel seen as their organisations implement return-to-office (RTO) mandates, according to the report.

It found that 28% of remote or hybrid workers make a conscious effort to further demonstrate their online presence after their organisations implemented RTO policies.

For in-office staff, 42% said they feel like they only show up in the workplace just so they can be seen by their bosses and managers.

The pressure isn't baseless, either, as the report found that 32% of managers said tracking employee work habits was a primary objective behind their RTO policies.

Anita Grantham, head of HR at BambooHR, said clear expectations will prevent performative displays from employees.

"Clear expectations and regular open conversations ensure that employees are hitting their targets, understand expectations, and feel included," Grantham said in a statement.

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